I don’t know about you guys, but when I turn 100, I want a special kind of birthday cake. The kind made up of potatoes, cheese, and butter.  I mean, really.  Potatoes, ice cream, cake… same thing.

Today would have marked Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and so in her honor, I thought I would make her a little cake from her own recipe.  A delicious potato & cheese filled cake.

Have we discussed this yet?

Just so you’re aware, I did consider (for a nanosecond) trying to make this dish a bit greener. Perhaps use lighter ingredients, or skimp a little on the butter.  Then I realized, that would probably offend Julia.  She would have expected me to make her dish the right way.  I mean at least this dish is local!

 And when I say local, I mean by depleting all cheese and butter sources within a few miles of my kitchen. Yes, it’s definitely local.

I think my move home from NYC ate my Julia Child cookbook: Mastering The Art of French Cooking.  I was sad, but my waistline was happy to hear that.   So, now that we’ve lost the cookbook, let’s see if you can decipher my recipe tutorial via photos:

I realize that comparing this to birthday cake may seem weird…

Got that?  What? Who needs measurements anyways…

Okay, maybe you do need some.


2 pounds starchy potatoes (about 4)

1/2 cloves unpeeled garlic

4 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons salt & pepper

1 cup grated Swiss cheese (I bought a hunk of cheese from my local deli)

1 cup boiling milk or cream


1) Preheat oven to 425F. Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8 inch thick. Place in cold water. Drain when ready to use.

2) Rub the baking dish with cut garlic. Smear the dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter (suggestion: I minced 1 garlic clove really well, and blended it into the butter before spreading it).

3) Drain the potatoes and dry them in a towel. Spread half of them in the bottom of the dish. Divide over them half the salt, pepper, cheese, and butter.

4) Arrange the remaining potatoes over the first layer and season. Spread on the rest of the cheese and divide the butter over it. Pour on the boiling milk.

5) Set the baking dish in upper third of preheated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, the milk is absorbed, and the top is a golden brown.

Note:  I would recommend letting it sit for about 15-20 minutes before digging in.  The delicious smell alone will make you want to gnaw your fingers off, but then again, we have mandolins to do that for us.

Et, bon appétit!